Djawa Yunupingu (Director, Gumatj Corporation and Marngarr Resource Centre Aboriginal Corporation) and Rose Manzini (General Manager Remote
Regions, Jawun), Cape York, 2014.
Photo Daniel Linnet, Linnet Foto
1.2.1 EMPHASIS ON INDIGENOUS-LED INITIATIVES IS IMPORTANT
Experts in the field of sustainable economic development
agree that the proven approach to building long-term
capacity is facilitating community-based Indigenous-led
After studying hundreds of reservations in the United
States, the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic
Development (HPAIED) found that sustained economic
growth occurred where decision-making was firmly in
Indigenous hands, rather than government driven.
This approach is not specific to Indigenous populations;
with a US$5 billion budget and 6,000 projects worldwide,
the United Nations Development Program has found that
the only way to achieve sustained economic growth is by
“enabling people to become actors in their own destinies”.
However, capacity building in existing initiatives can only
ever amplify an organisation’s current efforts, and can
do little if the organisation itself or the community is not
ready or is fundamentally dysfunctional. Jawun partners
must fulfil strict criteria, to ensure that communities and
organisations are well placed to extract leverage from the
model. In addition to an invitation from the community,
the key criteria Jawun looks for include:
• strong local leadership
• effective, well-governed organisations
• appetite for change and reform
• openness to new ideas
• willingness to connect and learn.